Binge drinking in decline among European youth: report

Binge drinking in decline among European youth: report
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Binge drinking in Europe is on the decline, with the prevalence among European teens and young adults down by up to 30 %, a new industry report showed.

The report, published on Monday, showed that binge drinking declined by at least 18% among populations in Europe, Africa and the Americas.

Overall in Europe, the figures highlight a decline of over 25% from the period between 2005 and 2016, numbers which the report says are consistent with years of data by the World Health Organisation (WHO) regarding the phenomenon in Europe.

The prevalence of heavy episodic drinking, or binge drinking, also appeared to be down by 28% among Europeans aged between 15 and 19 years old, and by 23% among those of between 20 to 24.

The report was published by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), a U.S.-based non-profit that focuses on reducing harmful drinking and which is supported by lead players in the alcohol industry, such as Heineken, Bacardi and Brazilian-Belgian multinational Anheuser-Busch InBev.

"More and more people are drinking responsibly across the world and we are particularly pleased by the clear reduction in heavy episodic drinking in Europe," Ulrich Adam, Director General of spiritsEUROPE, a Brussels-based industry interest group, said of the report.

Pooling data from government publications and scientific literature, from different periods (2005-2016;2010-2018), as well as WHO publications from 2018, the report's figures also showed that binge drinking was on the decline worldwide, with the exception of the Western-Pacific (up by between 9 and 16%, depending on age groups) and of Southeast Asia (up by between 1 and 6%).

The publication of the report follows a June statement on binge drinking in Europe by the WHO said that while some progress had been made, particularly in the form prevention campaigns and tax hikes, "better monitoring and support" were needed in order to craft evidence-based policies capable of boosting progress.

The new figures also come after the WHO warned, in 2011, that Europe was the heaviest drinking region in the world, in what the organisation's regional director for Europe said was a "priority public health concern."

The industry report also sheds a light on individual attitudes toward alcohol consumption, highlighting slight differences in attitudes among European countries.

While 51% of people in the U.K. believe that raising awareness on binge drinking is the responsibility of family members, a statement agreed to by 46% of Germans and 44% of French people, more than half (63%) of British people, 46% of Germans and 40% of French nationals believe that it is up to individuals themselves.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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